Wolves' Porter takes reins in familiar arena

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 28, 2011 - 12:24 AM

Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman missed the game to attend his mother-in-law's funeral, so the assistant led the team in Milwaukee.

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Wolves rookie point guard Ricky Rubio with assistant coach Terry Porter during training camp.t

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MILWAUKEE - The Wolves played -- and coached -- Tuesday night in Milwaukee without Rick Adelman.

While the team's head coach was away to attend his mother-in-law's funeral, top assistant Terry Porter returned home to Milwaukee and the arena where he coached the Bucks for two seasons from 2003 to 2005. He led the Wolves one night after they lost their season opener at home to Oklahoma City.

"I have a lot of fond memories about my time here," Porter said, crediting Bucks owner Herb Kohl and then-GM Larry Harris for giving him the chance. "It was great to be able to come home and coach. We had some fun times and we had some challenging times while I was here, but I enjoyed the experience."

The Bucks made the playoffs in Porter's first season and lost to the Detroit Pistons, the eventual NBA champion, in the first round. He was fired after the Bucks went 30-52 in an injury- riddled second season.

Adelman went over strategy and player rotation ideas with Porter and the coaching staff before the team flew to Milwaukee after Monday's game.

"It's nice because I'm home," said Porter, who grew up in Milwaukee. "The circumstances aren't the best."

Barea hurting

J.J. Barea dressed very deliberately and limped out of the team's locker room after Tuesday's game because of a hamstring injury he sustained going for a layup midway through the fourth quarter.

He left the game, went to the locker room and did not return to the court. Afterward, he sounded worried about the injury, which affects the same left leg he bruised during preseason play.

"I hope it's not that bad," he said after a 1-for-9 shooting night. "It's never happened to me before, so I don't know how that works. Bad luck. I'll learn how to deal with it this week, I guess."

Barrea finished with nine points and four assists.

Changing, already?

Those "big changes" Rubio hinted about on his Twitter posts in recent days?

Yes, he was stirring interest for his new website -- www.rickyrubio9.com -- that debuted Tuesday. The first day included a link to NBA TV's Top 10 highlights from Monday.

No. 1 on the list: His fast-break bounce pass, of course, to fellow rookie Williams for a reverse slam dunk.

"All my friends were calling me, I was sleeping because there is big difference," Rubio said, referring to the time change from Spain to Milwaukee. "When I woke up, I check Top 10 plays and it was good to see me and Derrick Rose ... Williams over there."

Complimentary ...

Rubio blew up on Twitter after his NBA debut on Monday. Even LeBron James chimed in after watching all those fast-break, bounce-pass highlights by tweeting, "Rubio can pass that rock!"

Rubio saw the mention while watching ESPN on the team's flight to Milwaukee after Monday's loss.

"I'm glad a guy like him who can play as he plays can talk good things about me," Rubio said.

Etc.

• Former Wolves guard and front-office executive Fred Hoiberg stopped by before Tuesday's game and chatted with Porter outside the team's locker room. Hoiberg, now the coach at Iowa State, was in Milwaukee recruiting and his son mentioned to him the Wolves were in town playing the Bucks, so ...

• Another change noted in coaching ways from this season and last: Kurt Rambis practiced his players nearly every possible day, no matter the travel or game schedule. Adelman does not like to practice after back-to-back games, so the Wolves are scheduled to have Wednesday off.

• Center Nikola Pekovic (groin) and guard Malcolm Lee (sore knee) did not make the trip to Milwaukee.

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